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There’s a certain human connection that happens when you hear a personal story spoken aloud, and that made this memoir even better than if I had read a hard copy myself. Maybe it’s the honesty and inflection behind the words, and the Long Island accent that is emphasized in certain parts. Other audiobook bonuses are the foreward read by Idina (Dee), the interview with both sisters at the end, and the duet that they sing of “Never Never Land” – from Peter Pan, which is referenced in the book as the first musical theatre performance that the sisters ever saw.
Cara Mentzel, younger sister of “Broadway supernova” Idina was (relatively) quieter and (seemingly) shy to the average observer, but through her own words and voice we get to know her spunk and wit as she recalls tales that span from their childhood (think little orphan Annie and Snoopy Sno Cone Machines), to the present. The book tells of their journey as sisters (so far) through marriages, careers, and finally - their shared experience on the Oscars red carpet. I loved that Cara had hoped Dee would invite her as her Oscars date, but didn’t want to ask; her recollection of everything to do with attending the Oscars was so humourous because Cara was thinking what you or I would probably be thinking in the same situation. One of my favourite passages was about deciding which dress to wear, and the tongue-in-cheek line: “Luckily, the vote for the periwinkle dress was unanimous, so I didn’t have to worry about showing up at the Oscars like I thought I was going to the Golden Globes. How embarrassing would that have been!”
‘Voice Lessons’ explores the complexity of a sibling relationship like any other, with the added fun of a glimpse here and there into the celebrity life. The perspective of this story told by Idina’s little sister (and biggest fan) is a unique one, and those who were kids in the 70’s and 80’s will relate to all the pop culture references. You don’t have to be a die-hard Idina fan to like this book (though if you are, it’s an obvious must-read!). If you enjoy stories about family, and you’re curious about what it’s like to live a ‘normal’ life with a ‘normal’ job, while the sibling you grew up with is frequently in the media with hit plays, hit movies, and hit songs, then this book is for you!
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Cara Mentzel did an awesome job, not only with the actual writing of the book, but also with the audio narration! I love how she structured the book and her sentences. Very engaging!
She truly sounds like a veteran storyteller! I didn’t know much at all about Cara, but this book and her stories made me feel so connected to her somehow. The book is so genuine, honest, and entertaining. Cara showed her vulnerability, lessons learned, and her consequent strengths.
Overall, I would recommend this to everyone wanting a good and fun read! I think it’s such a well-written book regardless of who her sister is :) But, of course, it’s a great treat and so cool to learn about Idina from her sister’s point-of-view.